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December 23, 2009

The Meanings of Christmas Present

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
This is the depleted basket in which guests to our annual Christmas party have taken the small gifts collected by my wife Suzanne during our most memorable trip this year (quest' anno). This year the trip of note was to Sicily where I visited the village of Marineo near Palermo in which my roots are sunk. Therefore the "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" sign hanging from the basket handle is written in Sicilian. il insegno "Buon Natale ed il nuovo anno felice" scritto in siciliano

Decorating for Christmas can say a lot more about people than the words they use to talk about it. These are some of the things I saw around me during the day before Christmas and...

December 12, 2009

Italian/American Trial Styles

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
In June of 1998, I took the Eurostar from Rome to Perugia where I spent a pleasant afternoon after giving a lecture at the Istituto di Etnologia e Antropologia Culturale, Corso di Antroplogia Visuale, University of Perugia. It wasn't such a wild and crazy place then, but then again, neither was/am I.

The recent trials and tribulations of American-Italian Amanda Fox, and Italian Americans John A. "Junior" Gotti, and Joseph Bruno raise some important questions about the...

November 3, 2009

Bloomberg versus Berlusconi

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
This is a collage I assembled to represent the deluge of "Mike Bloomberg for Mayor" literature that has been delivered to our door. It is a tiny bit of the $100,000,000 spent in his campaign, best represented here by the city-wide blanket of newspaper endorsements from the Nowy Dziennik to The New York Times. If Berlusconi had such a love affair with the press, he'd have no need to change the Italian Constitution to keep himself out of jail.

As one looks closely at the behavior and battles of Bloomberg and Berlusconi it seems that, besides being big buck billionaires, they have a great deal more in common than lots of...

October 5, 2009

USA versus Italy: Diversity versus Mixing

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
In states like Montana and Wyoming diversity is most likely found in national parks such as Yellowstone, but even there 'they' are more likely to be foreign visitors than more and less indigenous Americans.

Many otherwise astute Italian-born commentators on American life often mistake the grand indicators of diversity in American population statistics as indicators of extensive...

September 15, 2009

Memories of September 11th Past, Present, and .....

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
This memorial was created here on 9/11/ 2001. Perhaps a parent and child put this together. I read the twin tower candles, fire engine and maybe a lost loved one in the form of a doll.

Every year around 9/11 I go out in my neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn and retrace my steps (and re-photograph) as I walked about in 2001 looking at how ordinary people...

July 16, 2009

Explaining American Politics: Sonia, Jeff (and Silvio): Judicial Temperament (Temperamentos judiciales de Sonia, Jeff (y Silvio)

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Maria Sotomayor was born and raised in The Bronx, New York of parents who were born in Puerto Rico. This is a photo of a bakery in Rincon, Puerto Rico where my wife and I have gone several times with our children and grandchildren. It sells great empanadas. I thought it was the perfect image to celebrate the first Latina to join two Italians on the Supreme Court who share part of her Latin heritage.

In America, millions are sitting around the television and watching the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings the way they watched the recent Major League Baseball All Star Game. It...

June 24, 2009

Boys will be boys. (I ragazzi saranno ragazzi)

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
I assumed that an image of sex-crazed Italian and American politicians in action or one of Obama smoking would be impossible to obtain, so I chose the next best thing; an allegorical scene from the Vucciria market in Palermo of fish caught in the act, so to speak (per cosi dire).

The fact that you can't change human nature is no excuse for ignoring it and since media coverage of politics is hardly natural there's even less reason for avoiding reality. As I...

June 1, 2009

Remembering D-Day, Italian American Style

Jerry Krase
Jordan Family
Wedding of Evelyn Jordan and Frank in Brooklyn, New York, September 18, 1943.

  There are many Italian American World War II heroes. Between my wife's family and mine we have about a dozen or so. To name a few: her Uncles Joe, Frank, Anthony, and...

May 14, 2009

Turning Back the Tide: It's Already Too Late Silvio

Jerry Krase
Jerry Krase
This is the "palace" that my grandfather told my mother he lived in when he was boy in Marineo before coming to America. After he moved out, they seemed to have converted the castle into a museum that displays the many foreign influences on the locality.

The Italian Right's comically frantic attempts to turn back the clock to a time when non-Italians hadn't polluted (or blessed) Italy's shores is guaranteed to fail (as are...

April 27, 2009

John Marchi an Italian American Class Act

Jerry Krase
State Sen. John Marchi takes to the schools to discuss secession with youngsters at PS 60 in 1993 (Advance file photo)

In my opinion, John Marchi was among the best and the brightest and he deserves a place alongside New York City's other unblemished political heroes such as Fiorello LaGuardia...